Without Music It Wouldn' Be the Same Film!

CD soundtrack: Dalibor Grubačević, Artedox, Aquarius Records, 2011.

  • CD sountrack: Dalibor Grubačević: Artedox, Aquarius Records, 2011In Croatia is rare to find soundtrack in which composer puts so much effort to create film music that it sounds authentically on one hand, and is, on second hand, well made for film. It is even rarer to find a Croatian film composer who keeps his style recognizable but also ready for grow and development. These grow and development are very well heard on new soundtrack Artedox by Dalibor Grubačević, published by Aquarius Records. Album sums up composer’s interest in music written for a specific film genre – a film documentary. At the first glance it seems that in documentary films composer doesn’t have space for much to say by his music. Namely, stories are real and music should also repeat reality in them. But, this is not what Grubačević thinks. His music tells stories from real life, but in the way that it gives them a new dimension which miraculously brings film pictures to life. This principle goes as far as it cans, which means that music transfers documentaries to fiction, that is, to the world of feature films. Documentary film and feature film are, of course, very far relatives, so Grubačević, by his intensively lyrical way of musical thinking, reinforces what directors had in their minds, but in the way that he creates parallel, even Hollywood-sounding, sound world of film.
    Together (Zajedno), director Nenad Puhovski
    Grubačević’s album contains music from feature documentary films Together (Zajedno) by Nenad Puhovski and Stopped Voice (Zaustavljeni glas) by Višnja Starešina; short documentary films Tesla, Shop Went Away (Ode dućan) and Josip Cvrtila by Miro Branković and Album and Lost Treasure (Izgubljeno blago) by Branko Ištvančić. There is also music for four episodes for TV series Hebrang by Zoran Budak. It is obvious that in these entire scores composer’s concern for his music doesn’t stop by the task of composing. Namely, being the Croatian film music composer, Grubačević thinks untypical for his surroundings, but typical for richer artistic milleurs: all his scores are composed for live instruments, whether for symphony orchestra, whether for few orchestral instruments or for solo piano which dominates the orchestral texture. It is important to emphasize this since orchestral film scores in Croatia are becoming rarity. Thanks to Grubačević who, despite many (production and financial) problems, never decides in favor to synthetic sound (he tries to avoid it in every cost), there is still hope that orchestral film sound in Croatia won’t be dead in few years.

    Dalibor Grubačević, foto: 1www.daliborgrubacevic.comOn the other hand, it is also important that Grubačević always thinks how to publish an album of his film music – the soundtrack – which is also rare in Croatia. Namely, film music albums should be published by producers and other people who are backing the film, but in Croatia is not so. If composer alone doesn’t contact publishers and organize recording sessions by himself, his music will never be published. On this matter Grubačević is also alone in the sea of film music composers who never try to publish their music on CD due to many obstacles, or due to just trying to make director or producer to do the job (which is the practice in the big wide world), but those always shrug their shoulders thinking that publishing a soundtrack commercially doesn’t pay off. By publishing his music on CD, Grubačević doesn’t only advertise his artistic products, but he saves them and makes them listenable for a wide audience. In this way, his scores become archived national treasure of cultural importance.

    I used words artistic product, but I don’t mean that Grubačević’s music is commercial artifact made only for broad audience. His music brings all kinds of specialties: beautiful clarinet theme in opening credits in film Together which in end credits of the same movie becomes theme for violin; unique piano solos in TV-series Hebrang which also appear in scores for Stopped Voice and for Josip Cvrtila; specific musical attitude towards Croatian national music is found in Lost Treasure; heavy chamber strings, sometimes oriented towards contemporary classical music in Album; and there are elements of neo-romantism which are present in all films and which culminate in joke-like music for Shop Goes Away (this is the last number on CD).
    Stopped Voice (Zaustavljeni glas), director Višnja Starešina
    Although last sentences talk about profound musical thinking of classical oriented musician, there are evidences of excellent response of numerous viewers to this film music. Grubačević put on the cover-booklet of the CD a few words from each director he cooperated with. The most interesting are sentences written by Višnja Starešina, director of Stopped Voice: “It was the most important to me that the emotion and content of my documentary Stopped Voice about poet and Croatian journalist of Radio Vukovar Siniša Glavašević, find their way to young viewers. And I was very happy seeing how film touched my 16 year old nephew Ive, who said it was ‘too good’. I thought I am taking credit for this. ‘And what you liked the most?’, I asked him believing that I will get another praise. ‘The music, the music is too good,’ he said. ‘Everything else is O.K., but without music it wouldn’t be the same film.’ So, thank you, Dalibor, although you stole a compliment from me.”

    Also, thank you, Dalibor, from this film music lover, who is the author of these sentences as well, because you keep the faith in existence of excellent Croatian film music alive.

    © Irena Paulus, FILMOVI.hr, July 19, 2011